The First Book I Wish I Read About Leadership

Why did you become a leader? Why do you want to lead?

When you consider most of the books we recommend about leadership, they tell you how to lead. If you never discover why you want to lead, then the how does not matter.

Patrick Lencioni recently wrote The Motive. The arc of the book focuses on the motives of leadership, rewards vs. responsibility. In the introduction of the book, he states this sobering problem of leadership:

They’ll (leaders) pick and choose how they spend their time and energy based on what they are going to get, rather than what they need to give to the people they’re supposed to be leading.

pg. X

The Motive begins with a short fable with two CEOs discussing the responsibilities that many leaders abdicate. Pat leads you through the second half of the book with critical lessons of responsible vs. rewards leadership. The book enthralled me so much that I read it in two days.

Jesus, throughout the Bible, cares far more about why we do what we do versus what we do. The teachings of Jesus can be summed up in Proverbs 16:2, “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.”

How much more is this true for leadership? Without shining the light of the gospel into the motives of our hearts, we become blind to our own biases, blind spots, and abdications. Your strategies, goals, and tactics become comprised without a healthy motive to lead.

I can’t recommend this book enough for current and aspiring leaders. Below are a few quotes from the book that stood out to me:

  • Then Liam finished his thought, “And it’s my job to help them get better.” (pg. 49)
  • Liam went on. “It’s not babysitting. It’s management. And it’s your job.” (pg. 51)
  • And that bad meetings, boring meetings, ineffective meetings, were my fault, and were lethal to the company. Until I really believed that, no meeting tactics or tools were going to make a difference. (pg. 65)
  • If you’re having bad meetings, you’re making bad decisions. (pg. 99)
  • The chief reminding officer. Prospective employees. New Employees. Current employees. Constant reminders and updates and stories. There is no such thing as communicating too much about the important stuff. (pg. 100)
  • Remember, reward-focused leaders are motivated by the idea that they can now pick and choose what to do based on what they like doing. Their motto might well be, “It’s good to be the king.” And few “kings” want to be managers. (pg. 146)
  • One of the main responsibilities of a leader is to confront difficult, awkward issues quickly and with clarity, charity, and resolve. (pg. 148)

Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Originally published at on May 29, 2020.

Adult Ministries Director @Browncroft . Host on @WGWPodcast. Married to @RobynEnglert | Subscribe to my blog ➡️